Mathematically, it is virtually impossible to prove any of the theories that for every $100 you spend locally, X amount of dollars stay at home. Different surveys have provided different results, so all that can be said is that it makes sense for the folks in any community to spend their money with their local merchants if they want their community to survive and the business community to grow.
Past the purely monetary considerations, there are other reasons to shop at home with your business neighbors.
Local consumers can save gas, time and the frustration and stress of navigating traffic in the larger city.
They will find that most local shops are quieter and less chaotic than large department stores. It shouldn’t be necessary to climb over people to get what you’re looking for and in the local shop no one will need to be climbing over others. Parents usually feel more pressure to keep their whining children under control when the store atmosphere is one of tranquility. Shoppers can hear themselves think and make better choices about what to buy.
The staff-per-customer ratio is often much higher at local stores and therefore they can get you rung up and checked out much more quickly. Shoppers will also spend less time navigating their way through goliath aisles with dizzying amounts of inventory piled in the middle of these aisles defying shoppers to pass. At a local store, shoppers will most often get more efficient, faster and knowledgeable help from a staff person. All of these things will save shoppers time, which (as they say) is money.
In most instances, the owners of the local store are usually on the premises and sometimes are working behind the counter or register right along side the staff. If a shopper has a complaint, a suggestion or a question, he or she can take it to the top person who will actually see or hear you talking and may well take what you say into consideration. After all, to a small, local business your patronage means a lot more than it does to most of the big city, big chain stores.
It has been proven that in communities where locally owned shops prevail and are in the majority, business owners and managers provide a diversity of talents and skills, including leadership and comprehensive business management talents to share with the community. The home-grown kind of community development skills provided are not present in big cities with big chain stores.
How local citizens spend their money has a direct impact on the character of the community. Local shops give the town a very unique flavor, which attracts tourism which draws more money into the community.
If a shopper buys a gift from a big city, chain store, the gift is only to one person. If a shopper buys a gift from the local shop that his or her neighbor owns, then the gift is actually to two people, the shopper’s intended recipient and his or her neighbor who owns the shop. Shoppers may spend a few bucks more to purchase something from a shop owner whom they know personally, but consider that the feeling of satisfaction in knowing that this patronage is helping to send the shop owner’s child to day care or assisting them in paying the heating bills is worth way more than a few dollars. Sure, someone will profit no matter where shoppers spend their money, but when they shop locally they can actually know who is profiting and see how that money made a positive difference. An added bonus is that were the shopper to also own a local business and the shop owner were to also shop with the shopper’s own business, then the money spent is actually is being returned.
The truth is that all local economies are different, for the most part because of the way money flows around the town and through what businesses and institutions. How much of local money is spent locally determines the manner in which the local economy operates. How much is spent locally affects taxes, reinvestment into the community and the attitudes of the residents about their community.
So there you are. Buying locally: Will it enrich your wallet? It could. Will it enrich your life? Definitely. So how could you go wrong? Sort of the Win-Win situation for which we have all been seeking.